Bytes and Hertz

bits, bytes

You will not be able to get a full understanding of computer hardware basics without knowing how their capabilities are actually measured. Knowing how to tell how a piece of hardware performs when comparing it to others is very useful when buying your own or helping someone find a good deal. Thus, let us review some of the main terms used to describe the speed and capacity of pc hardware.

Byte Me and…

You many not really understand what they are all about(or you do and that’s why you’re interested in this site in the first place), but you have probably seen them before. Bits, the 1’s and 0’s running across the computer screens on movies or TV shows when a virus supposedly attacks a computer or something. Believe it or not, all of the logic behind computers revolves around these little 1’s and 0’s. These bits are the smallest unit of memory or informational storage in any computer and either have a value of 1 or 0.  1 means that the section of memory holding the bit is set to “yes” or “true”, while 0 means  that it is “no” or “false.”  A bit is “true” when an electric current passes through it; it is then on.

Bits are used when describing how much information it transferred by a piece of hardware at a single time.  You usually hear of CPU’s and how they process 32 to 64 bits at a given time nowadays. However, you usually find memory stated as kilobytes(210), megabytes(220) , gigabytes(230), and terabytes(240).  So, for example, one kilobyte is 1,024 bytes and one megabyte is 1,048,576 bytes. Many people erroneously say that a kilobyte is 1,000 bytes or a megabyte is 1,000,000 bytes.  Remember, bytes measured as powers of 2, a binary system. This is different from the decimal system we use for counting, which uses powers of 10.


Computer disk drives: Storage capacity for magnetic drives is usually between 250 gigabytes and 4 terabytes. You will not really see anything under 250 gigabytes anymore. Hard disk drives’ capacities are higher , in general, than solid-state drives’, which are available in up to 2 terabyte capacities .  Data transfer rate is also different. The current hard disk drives can transfer data at up to around 140MB(megabytes) per second. Current solid-state drives can transfer data up to around 600MB per second.

…It Hertz

The Hertz measures how many cyclical actions are completed in a second , a frequency of how much something happens. CPU’s today are usually between 1 Gigahertz(phones, netbooks, tablets) and 6 gigahertz(high-end computers). Of course the higher the rate, or clock speed, the faster the hardware processes data. In one cycle, the processor does everything needed in order to receive data and transmit commands. CPU’s and memory modules, etc, need to have a speed rating compatible with the motherboard. They must be able to operate at the speed of the motherboard.


As previously indicated, computer processors are usually between 1Gigaherz and 6Gigahertz. The standard clock speed for DDR 3 RAM at present is between 100Megahertz and 266Megahertz. Video cards have clock speeds from around 166Megahertz to 5700Megahertz

The preceding was a general explanation of bytes and hertz. A lot more can be discussed when talking about these topics. Further your research, because they are important things to know and necessary when developing an understanding of computer hardware basics.

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